February 2006 News

Bush visit to urge Kashmir peace

27 February 2006

London: US President George W Bush is to make his first visit to India this week, after he has talks in Pakistan, urging both to agree a resolution in Kashmir. Speaking in an interview on Pakistani television, the president said he had seen progress between the two nations and thought they could end the dispute. It is likely he will urge Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to step up efforts to capture al-Qaeda leaders. In India he is expected to finalise a deal on nuclear cooperation. I will use my trip to urge the leadership to continue solving this issue (Kashmir) with the idea that it can be solved. 'In this vital region, the stakes are high and the opportunities are unprecedented,' Bush said ahead of the South Asia trip. At the weekend India said it had moved forward in talks with the US in Delhi, ahead of the president's visit, aimed at smoothing key differences over a proposed landmark nuclear deal. The US has offered to share peaceful nuclear technology if India agrees to separate its civilian and military nuclear programmes. The deal would allow India access to US civilian nuclear technology. A White House aide was more cautious, saying a deal may not be agreed during the president's trip. 'We care' While in Pakistan, the US president is expected to prompt President Musharraf, a supporter of Bush's anti-terror campaign, to commit more resources to capturing Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, who are reportedly hiding in the country. In an interview on state-owned Pakistani television, Mr Bush also said he wanted to use his trip to Islamabad next Saturday to let Pakistanis know 'that the American people care about them'. And speaking of the Kashmir dispute, which has long been the subject of war and fighting between Pakistan and India who both claim the Himalayan region, the president said: 'I will use my trip to urge the leadership to continue solving this issue with the idea that it can be solved.'


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